Life cycles. Birth, growth, maturity, fruitfulness, senescence, death, decay. These are normally seen as joy followed by mourning. Who doesn’t celebrate with that first green shoot poking through the soil, or the anticipation of a strong, young plant that is beginning to bud? Not to mention the joy and enjoyment of fruitfulness – the point of the plant (as many would see it). Likewise, there is always a sense of loss as a specific plant has finished yielding its fruit, and begins to wilt and fall to the ground and die.
The gardener, however, sees things a little bit differently. That single plant was a part of something far greater, far older and far more significant. The gardener knows that the compost they lovingly put in the garden prior to transplanting the young, vibrant plant came from other plants and fruit that had lived, grown and died – only to give new life to the next generation. I guess a gardener who relies upon petroleum based fertilizers, and seed packets purchased from a local grocery/hardware/home improvement center – has little visceral understanding of this truth; but if you save your own seeds from the previous generation, and keep an active compost pile from all the “waste” from your garden and kitchen, you know that life lives on.
Nothing is more healthy and life-giving than composted life. No purchased seed packet enables you to hand-select the best of the best of each generations’ fruitfulness to pass on to the next. Nothing supplies the needs of the young like the “waste” of the old.
Plants live and die, and in their death – they give new life to those that follow them. You can do the same. Honor those who have gone before, listen to the stories of their successes and failures and learn from their best and brightest moments – as well as their lessons learned the hard way. Build into the generations that are coming along behind you, help them out as they are getting started. Your trash might just be their treasure.
If a garden teaches you anything, it should be that nothing is wasted, nothing is useless. All life is life-giving.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (-Jesus, John 12:24 NIV)